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Regents approve contracts for CU Buffs football assistants

Salary pool will top $3.5 million for first time

BOULDER, CO: February 2, 2022- Assistant coaches, Kyle Devan, left, and Mike Sanford, during the University of Colorado Boulder football coaches press conference on February 2, 2022.
(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)
BOULDER, CO: February 2, 2022- Assistant coaches, Kyle Devan, left, and Mike Sanford, during the University of Colorado Boulder football coaches press conference on February 2, 2022. (Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

New offensive coordinator Mike Sanford has signed one of the most lucrative deals for an assistant coach in Colorado football history, and the entire salary pool for assistants will be higher than ever this season.

On Thursday, the CU Board of Regents approved the contracts of Sanford and three other new assistant coaches, as well as new deals for two returning assistants.

The contracts were among several items in a consent agenda that passed by a vote of 8-0. One regent, Heidi Ganahl, was not present.

In addition to Sanford, regents approved contracts for new assistants Kyle DeVan (offensive line), Phil McGeoghan (receivers) and Clay Patterson (tight ends). Returning coaches Brett Maxie (safeties) and Mark Smith (inside linebackers) both got new contracts and those were approved, as well.

The contracts for new assistants Rod Chance (cornerbacks) and Vic So’oto (defensive line) are still being finalized and were not presented to the regents for approval on Thursday.

Sanford, who also coaches quarterbacks, signed a three-year contract valued at $2.1 million in base and supplemental salary, matching the largest deal ever for a CU assistant. Former defensive coordinator D.J. Eliot signed a three-year, $2.1 million contract in 2017. Eliot earned $700,000 per year, the largest single-season salary for a CU assistant.

Sanford will make $650,000 this year and his salary is slated to increase to $700,000 in 2023 and $750,000 in 2024.

DeVan, McGeoghan and Patterson all signed two-year deals. Devan’s deal is for $425,000 in 2022 and $450,000 in 2023. McGeoghan’s contract is for $350,000 in 2022 and $375,000 in 2023. Patterson is slated to earn $325,000 in 2022 and $350,000 in 2023.

Maxie was an at-will employee last year but has signed a two-year contract that will keep his salary at about $375,000 for this year, with a raise to $400,000 in 2023.

Smith signed his original two-year deal in 2021, but that has been replaced by a new two-year contract that includes a significant raise. Originally slated to make $225,000 this year, Smith’s new contract is for $350,000 this year and $400,000 in 2023.

Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson is entering the second year of a three-year, $1.8 million deal he signed a year ago. Running backs coach Darian Hagan will remain an at-will employee and is receiving a raise to $245,000 for 2022.

Overall, CU’s salary pool for its 10 full-time football assistants will top $3.5 million for the first time.

Although the contract terms for Chance and So’oto are not known, the other eight coaches are slated to make a combined $3,320,000. The contracts for Chance and So’oto could bring the total salary pool to around $4 million for the 2022 season.

The previous high was $3.455 million in 2021.

In addition, director of football sports performance Shannon Turley is receiving a slight raise to $247,200 and is at-will.

This was the first time since former head coach Mike MacIntyre’s extension in June of 2017 that the regents unanimously approved football contracts – although now-former regent Linda Shoemaker did get up from the table during that vote and did not participate.

Before Thursday, in each of the previous five times football contracts came to the regents, at least two regents voted against them.

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